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Aging Cell. 2017 Aug;16(4):750-760. doi: 10.1111/acel.12608. Epub 2017 May 26.

Identification of tissue-specific transcriptional markers of caloric restriction in the mouse and their use to evaluate caloric restriction mimetics.

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LifeGen Technologies LLC, Madison, WI, USA.
Center for Anti-Aging Research, NSE Products, Inc., Provo, UT, USA.
Departments of Statistics and of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.
Department of Medicine, SMPH, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.
Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI, USA.
Departments of Genetics and Medical Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.


Caloric restriction (CR) without malnutrition has been shown to retard several aspects of the aging process and to extend lifespan in different species. There is strong interest in the identification of CR mimetics (CRMs), compounds that mimic the beneficial effects of CR on lifespan and healthspan without restriction of energy intake. Identification of CRMs in mammals is currently inefficient due to the lack of screening tools. We have performed whole-genome transcriptional profiling of CR in seven mouse strains (C3H/HeJ, CBA/J, DBA/2J, B6C3F1/J, 129S1/SvImJ, C57BL/6J, and BALB/cJ) in white adipose tissue (WAT), gastrocnemius muscle, heart, and brain neocortex. This analysis has identified tissue-specific panels of genes that change in expression in multiple mouse strains with CR. We validated a subset of genes with qPCR and used these to evaluate the potential CRMs bezafibrate, pioglitazone, metformin, resveratrol, quercetin, 2,4-dinitrophenol, and L-carnitine when fed to C57BL/6J 2-month-old mice for 3 months. Compounds were also evaluated for their ability to modulate previously characterized biomarkers of CR, including mitochondrial enzymes citrate synthase and SIRT3, plasma inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels and adipocyte size. Pioglitazone, a PPAR-γ agonist, and L-carnitine, an amino acid involved in lipid metabolism, displayed the strongest effects on both the novel transcriptional markers of CR and the additional CR biomarkers tested. Our findings provide panels of tissue-specific transcriptional markers of CR that can be used to identify novel CRMs, and also represent the first comparative molecular analysis of several potential CRMs in multiple tissues in mammals.


aging; biomarkers; caloric restriction; gene expression; mouse

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